People flying in and out of the city witnessed marginal delays even as the marathon repair of the airport’s main runway took off on Monday.
The closure of the primary runway that handles 80 per cent of the operations was likely to cripple services because the other runway is shorter in length and unequipped with ground aid crucial for low visibility operations.
However, on an average, departing flights were delayed by barely 16 minutes during the eight-hour closure (9 am to 5 pm). Incoming flights witnessed an average delay of only nine minutes during the same period.
The secondary runway handled 228 flight movements during the closure.
As many as 124 flights landed and 104 flight took off from the smaller runway.
The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said that the operations went as per plan. “We are confident of handling operations in a similar manner,” said the spokesperson.
The repair work, where at least 1,200 tonnes of asphalt will be laid on the surface of the runway, will go on daily except Sundays till July 1, next year. Repairs will be halted for three days started November 5 during US President Barack Obama’s visit to the city.
MIAL will widen the runway width from 45 m to 65 m so that it can handle big planes such as the Airbus A 380.
On Monday, more than 40 different machines and 2,500 construction workers participated in the repair work that will keep the runway going for the next 10 years.
Airport officials are keeping their fingers crossed for the winter because foggy mornings are likely to disrupt flight
Flights depend on the Instrument Landing System, a ground aid when the visibility drops below 1,400 metres.
The secondary runway is not equipped with this instrument that guides approaching aircraft using radio signals.